I could eat my own weight in Grandma’s “Won’t Fail Fudge,” but do I really want to carry around an extra me in 2010? Not exactly. Spring comes quick here in Santa Barbara, so bikinis and spring runs are just around the corner. If you’re located somewhere where you’ll be wearing large sweaters for the next four months – lucky you! (I guess?) But even if you will be bundled up for a few more months, that doesn’t mean you want to have to trade your skinny jeans for your dad’s sweatpants thanks to a few weeks of indulging.
So, here ere are some tips for navigating holiday parties and rounds at the bar so you can enjoy yourself and still look damn good in the new year.
Surviving Those Holiday Gatherings
Food can seem like the main event at holiday parties, but isn’t the point to mingle and mix with one another?
1. Don’t Go Hungry! Pretty self-explanatory, but don’t do it! Eat sensibly throughout the day, and maybe skip a snack if you want to bank a few extra hundred calories for later.
2. Choose foods that are “worth” it to you. Choosing to have a little taste of the things that you’re really craving, say Christmas cookies or some mini-quiches, while holding back on the other hors d’oeuvres at the buffet line can save you hundreds of calories without making you feel deprived. Pick to have a small portion of your favorite one or two dishes, and load the rest of your plate up with veggies and low-fat dips. Some great options are salsa, guacamole, and other vegetable-based dips.
3. Protein, protein, protein! Choosing foods that are high in protein will help to keep you fuller for longer, and help you to combat bloat in your party dress because you will be fuller from eating less! Choose items such as cheese, nuts, small sausages, shrimp, or slices of meat. Just don’t go overboard! Stick to recommended serving sizes: 1 oz of cheese is about the size of four dice, 3 oz of meat is about the size of a deck of cards, and one serving of nuts fits in the palm of your cupped hand.
4. Keep a drink handy. Keeping a low-calorie drink or cocktail in your hand while socializing means that you can’t eat at the same time! Also, you won’t have to worry about talking with food in your mouth.
5. When all else fails, wear something slinky. You’ll attract attention and feel good. If you feel more confident, you’re more likely to make good choices about food and less likely to feel like binging on the nearest plate of sugar cookies. Think about it: wearing a big sweater means room for cookies! A slinky dress means one or two, but not the whole plate.
Bring on the Bar!
These days, I’d gladly take my vodka and tonic over a sugar cookie. But can’t I have both? Please?
1. Mix and mingle with something light. Substitute diet soda or diet tonic water when possible in your favorite mixed drinks. Juices are great to mix with, especially if the bar offers lower-sugar or sugar-free versions. Lime or lemon, and even a cherry, can flavor your drink for only a few calories. OR try flavored liquor on the rocks.
2. Choose wisely and lightly. Choose a lower calorie cocktail (especially if you’re having more than one – New Year’s Eve anyone?) Some good options include:
Wine Spritzer – Wine spritzers are half wine and half club soda. With three ounces of wine and three ounces of club soda, wine spritzers top out at about 60 calories and zero grams of fat.
Red wine or white wine (5 ounce serving)
Champagne (5 ounce serving)
Calories: 200 (or order it with diet tonic and lime for only about 100 calories!)
Regular beer (12-ounce serving)
Light beer (12 ounce serving)
Vodka Cranberry with just a splash of cranberry and mostly diet tonic
Calories: Under 150